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Need a Halloween Costume Idea? Google Has Some Ideas

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This edition of Weekly Reads covers LinkedIn’s much-needed algorithm update, magazine publisher Meredith making bold moves with IGTV, new ways to consume Instagram content, YouTube’s decision to redefine a video “engagement,” and the top Halloween costumes of 2018 based on Google Trends.

LinkedIn

Social Media Today: LinkedIn Updates Feed Algorithm to Generate More Engagement for Users

Now is the perfect time to post on LinkedIn based on their recent algorithm changes. Their previous algorithm catered to top content creators by consistently serving their content over everyone else. LinkedIn discovered that this was discouraging a majority of their users, who were seeing little to no engagement on posts. With this recent update, all users should see better distribution of their posts and hopefully more engagement. Read more after the jump…

Best Red Rocks Concert Poster Designs of 2018

The first snow has fallen in Denver, which means the Red Rocks concert season is almost over. I try to go to as many Red Rocks concerts as I can throughout the summer because it’s such a beautiful venue. Aside from music and scenery, I love checking out the concert poster designs that bands sell at the merch tents. Below, I’ve highlighted my favorite Red Rocks concert poster designs of 2018:

James Flames Concert Poster Design

James Flames

Notice the contrasting colors and psychedelic flow of this poster. The natural, textured strokes add to its hippie vibe. Design by James Flames for Conscious Alliance.
Read more after the jump…

Giving Back: 2017 Community Impact Report

Community Impact Report 2017Giving back is embedded in our culture and is a core value of GroundFloor Media and CenterTable.

Since our inception in 2001, we have been committed to investing in our community. This is reflected through cash contributions, pro bono public relations and digital marketing services, reduced billing rates for nonprofit clients, community service and paid time off for GroundFloor Media and CenterTable team members to volunteer with various community organizations and causes.

We typically aren’t braggadocios, but as a small business, we are very proud of our efforts as a company and the impact our employees make in the community. For the first time ever, we’ve compiled a Community Impact Report. It is a cumulative overview of our grants through our Get Grounded Foundation, financial matches through our Get Grounded Volunteer Program, Get Giving days of service, being named a Certified B Corporation, membership in giving organizations and participation on a variety of boards and committees.

As you can see from our annual report, all of us wholeheartedly believe that giving back in all shapes and forms strengthens our community, brings people together, provides us with valuable experience and insight and offers balance to our personal and professional lives.

Off-the-record? Anonymous Source? New York Times Explains Journalism Practices

New York TimesTo shed some light on how journalism works, The New York Times has launched a series of short posts that explains some of its practices.

This includes how the paper uses anonymous sources and what “off the record” really means.

Here are some highlights:

“Off the record,” “on background,” “not for attribution,” “embargoed,” “for planning purposes only,”: There is no universally agreed-upon meaning for many of these terms, making it difficult to sketch out even working definitions. So you have to work it out with your sources about how you want to proceed, and do so in clear language so there’s no misunderstanding.

At GroundFloor Media, we’ve explained this issue in the past, and as a rule of thumb, we recommend it is never a good idea to go “off the record” with reporters.

Anonymous sources: Under the Times’ guidelines, “anonymous sources should be used only for information that we think is newsworthy and credible, and that we are not able to report any other way. When the anonymous sourcing is central to the story, it generally must be approved by an even higher-ranking editor like a deputy managing editor.”

Corrections: “The Times recognizes an ethical responsibility to correct all its factual errors, large and small (even misspellings of names), promptly and in a prominent reserved space in the paper.”

YouTube Launches New Ad Formats and Measurement Options

Screen Shot 2018-10-08 at 12.18.35 PMYouTube recently announced some new ad formats that will allow viewing audiences to learn more about, and even buy, products and services without leaving the platform. Additionally, new tools are on their way that will allow for brand lift studies to be conducted on the Google Ads platform in real time, similar to a feature that Facebook has offered for a while.

The announced updates will work much much like they do in the search format with new “extensions” coming soon that will allow viewers to identify the location of a business and submit lead details from within an in-stream ad.

Read more after the jump…

Sabbatical Life Lessons

IMG_6790This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to take a four-week sabbatical following 10 years of employment at GroundFloor Media. For our part, team members are asked to take the time to regroup, recharge and reflect during their sabbaticals – with the ideal goal being that we come back refreshed and reenergized with insights to share with our team members that will ultimately help us all to live a more balanced, productive and abundant life.

It was, of course, amazing to have four weeks off – time to look up from my laptop and really be present in the world around me, spend treasured time with my family and friends, travel (to Hawaii!), and address long-ignored elements of my “other” jobs at home (stacks of mail, overflowing closets, etc.).

Read more after the jump…

Changes In Your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Newsfeeds

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Instagram and Twitter are making it easier for users to find the content they want, while Facebook is tightening up security measures for the upcoming elections in an effort to weed out fake news.

Instagram

Social Media Today: Instagram’s Testing an Option to Add Hashtags Without Having to Include Them in the Caption

Instagram has been testing out a non-intrusive way to add hashtags to posts through a separate field outside of the main caption. This would give Instagram more ways to categorize and showcase relevant posts in Explore. Read more after the jump…

Apple’s Winning Twitter Strategy

During this month’s Apple Event, when Apple announced new product releases for the world to drool over, Twitter felt more like a farmers market than a social media platform. As a Project Fi advocate, images of a sleek phone with a technicolor screen didn’t do much for me. What did catch my attention was Apple’s use of Twitter advertising strategies to promote and ultimately own their #AppleEvent.

Apple’s Paid Media Wins   

The most impressive aspect of their recent media push was their paid strategy. Instead of buying placements across multiple platforms, they picked one digital platform that’s highly relevant to tech lovin’ early adopters and focused their paid social efforts there. According to Digiday, they purchased a promoted trend, “like a reminder” custom placement and promoted tweets. This single platform focus demonstrates confidence in both their audience and the platform, which is prime advertising real estate for events, trends and conversations.

They also took time to create promoted tweets in 12 different languages, like the example below. This further indicates that they know their target audiences and want to connect with them through a relatable experience.

Apple’s Owned Media Misses  

In my opinion, a big missed opportunity for Apple was its continued organic silence on Twitter. They have never tweeted and an #AppleEvent didn’t change that organic strategy. Over the years, organic social media content has seen a decline in reach, causing a decrease in engagements. Typically when we run digital advertising campaigns, we see an increase in profile traffic and engagement, indicating that the most engaged members of the audience want a place where they can engage with a brand immediately after seeing an ad. By not tweeting organically, Apple missed out on organic reach and engaging with superfan conversations.

Apple’s Earned Media Love

Last week’s paid strategies directly impacted their earned media love. Promoting a trend was a brilliant idea, which gave #AppleEvent extra exposure and probably greatly impacted usage and engagement, like this user’s tweet:

What did you think of Apple’s Twitter takeover last week? Did it inspire you to join the conversation, or better yet, pre-order an iPhone XS? Let me know in the comments below!

Olivia Ward is a Director of Digital Strategy at CenterTable, where she creates digital marketing strategies that make client dreams come true. She has more than 10 years of experience helping brands find and target their audience IRL and digitally.

When PR Disasters Aren’t Really Disasters

emergency-planWe live in an age of instant analysis, a world where our Attention Deficit Disorder culture means that we rarely take the time necessary to understand the long-term impacts of current events.

That certainly applies to our political landscape, but it also applies to the business world. In an environment in which investors only care about the next quarter’s earnings, it can be hard to step back and focus on the long-term implications of opportunities and challenges.

This is especially true in the world of public relations. Each December, I present a list of the year’s biggest PR disasters. Some are almost a year old, and others are only months – or even days – old. Truth be told, that is not nearly enough distance to understand what the full impact will be on a company.

Having something negative happen is just one piece of a complex public relations puzzle. How quickly and effectively a company responds to that challenge can be as or even more important than the actual issue that has arisen. Equally important is how much trust a company has earned in the past helping insulate it from long-term damage.

The Value of Responding to a Crisis Quickly and Effectively

Southwest Airlines is a great example. It recently announced that it lost about $100 million in revenue due to a decline in ticket sales because of the death of one of its passengers. That is an enormous short-term figure, but what is the long-term damage to the company? From an investor perspective, the company’s stock dropped a little more than 7 percent in the aftermath of the incident, but it has rebounded and is now up more than 12 percent compared to where it was before the incident.

Southwest suffered a “PR disaster,” but because it responded effectively and had already earned trust from the flying public, it has weathered the situation well. The management team may be on a shorter leash, but even $100 million in lost revenue is a momentary blip, at least to long-term investors.

Next time you hear that a company has suffered a PR disaster, understand the context. Usually it means that a company has experienced a terrible incident. It doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Philosophers have argued that the measure of a person is not whether they face challenges, but in how they respond. That is true with companies as well. Like Southwest, Toyota, Sony, Netflix, Apple, Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and United have all suffered “PR disasters” in the recent past, and all have managed to climb their way back. That is the power of having a strong crisis plan and responding quickly and effectively.

Jeremy Story is a Vice President at GroundFloor Media, where he co-leads the firm’s Crisis, Reputation and Issues Management practice. He has more than 20 years of experience helping companies ranging from start-ups to the Fortune 100 prepare for, manage, and recover from crisis issues.

How to Speak Designer: 5 Phrases to Avoid When Speaking With Creatives

How to speak designer: 5 phrases to avoid when speaking with creatives | By Ben Hock at CentertableIn March I wrote about basic graphic design terms that clients should know before speaking with their designer. I’m always impressed by clients who use design terms appropriately, because, more often than not, people use graphic design terms incorrectly, which can lead to projects that go awry. In this follow-up, I’ve compiled a list of phrases that make designers cringe, along with advice on alternatives so your next creative project starts off smoothly. Read more after the jump…